Spoiled kids: In which cities do parents spend the most on their kids? (Psst: Atlanta made the list)

A website has figured out in which cities parents are most likely to spoil their kids and Atlanta has made the list.

From The Huffington Post.com:

“During last year’s winter holidays, a survey of 6,000 moms revealed that 3 out of 4 mothers think their kids are at least a little spoiled -– and 60 percent said their own children are more spoiled than they were as kids. Now, Bundle.com, a website that analyzes how people spend their money, has looked further into who is doing all of this spoiling — specifically, where they live.”

“Bundle.com looked at how much households spend at children’s stores in aggregate. Then, they “identified all locations for which they had a reasonable sample size, and determined the average spend by these households over the past three years.” This analysis resulted in two lists — U.S. cities where parents spend above or below the U.S. average and towns that fit the same criteria.”

Click the link to see the slideshow of the top 10 cities where parents spend the most on their kids.

New York City, Brooklyn and Dallas aren’t big surprises to me. But Miami, Minneapolis and Tulsa are surprises. I know folks in Miami have a lot of money but I didn’t expect them to be that far up – especially not ahead of Los Angeles. And I didn’t know Minneapolis and Tulsa has a lot of money. I am also surprised that L.A. shows up so late in the list.

Are you surprised that Atlanta is on the list? Would you have expected it to be higher or lower?

Which cities surprised you?

28 comments Add your comment


June 13th, 2012
6:57 am

When my two were in HS and I drove through the parking lot and saw student’s cars that were nicer than any car I ever had, it hit home. We do not live in Atlanta but in Gwinnett County.

I know of a family who gave their 16 year old a Lexus for her first car. REALLY? It was not Grandma’s old Lexus.

I have been to Minneapolis and Tulsa. I do not see them indulging their children like some parents here do but of course I do not live there. Those cities did surprise me.

The sad thing, to me, about overindulging, is that children will become accustomed to that lifestyle very early. They will either have to:

have a wonderful job themselves and make a lot of money
marry into a lot of money
be on your payroll forever

or else they will be frustrated with the standard of living they want and cannot afford

My daughter is home for a few days and we just went to the grocery store. Publix had BOGO ice cream. I told her to pick out two flavors. She said that she wanted to get ice cream the last time she was shopping alone but did not have the extra money. Made me think. She has learned to forgo things she cannot have. That can sometimes be a good thing.

Is anyone else confused about the picture that goes with Ft. Worth? I guess I missed something.


June 13th, 2012
6:57 am

You mean all these soccer Moms driving their smart phone absorbed kids to school everyday in their huge gas guzzling SUV’s of Atlanta’s suburbs made the list as spoiled?

Shocked, I’m just shocked!


June 13th, 2012
7:50 am

Living in Alpharetta/Milton, this does not shock me one bit. I would have expected Atlanta to actually be higher on the list.


June 13th, 2012
7:55 am

Actually NO, my kids are not spoiled. Only the oldest has a cell phone. My kids have to earn cell phones. They have to show us responsibility in order to get one. However, the rule in our home, is only over the age of 15 for a cell….

We have ONE gaming system, Wii, and it’s in the living room.

What we do is spend a lot of time with our kids. We do a lot of outdoor activities.

My kids are spoiled with love….and family values.


June 13th, 2012
8:10 am

I would suspect that the kids in my hood are spoiled. My kids are spoiled too. The amount of gift giving from grandparents in my family is just out the roof. I have seen 4 year old kids wearing the barefoot running shoes (you know the one with toes) in our neighborhood. Ha…what an expensive fad! It is one thing to be wearing them for running but I don’t know many 4 year olds doing any running over a short sprint.

But talk about being spoiled, pets in Atlanta are very spoiled! There are more doggie daycares close to my house than childcare. I have even been to doggy birthday parties. I wasn’t sure if I had to bring anything. I know one couple who takes their dog to daycare so it doesn’t have to be alone all day almost every day. Amazing. I need to figure out how to capitalize on this investment!

Voice of Reason

June 13th, 2012
8:12 am

Atlanta is #7? Seriously? Have you been to East Cobb? We should have at least beaten out Miami for the #3 spot.


June 13th, 2012
8:22 am

@gtmom….our groomer is thriving with doggy daycare! She has limited grooming spots left as she has so many dogs that board. I think it is $15-$20 per day. She has a play area inside and out. My hat is off to her for making a business out of it but $100 a week to drop off your dog? Not in my budget for sure!

Our vet has advertised a pool for the dogs that board there this summer. Next, they will be selling swim suits…haha! I have seen dogs with sunglasses on!

☺☻Have A Smile!

June 13th, 2012
8:47 am

I remember several instances here and there where mommy and daddy bought little precious a brand-new Mustang, etc years ago.

In several cases the car ended up wrapped around a power pole or overturned off the side of a highway, and they had to bury that teenager.

In another instance, little darling wrecked that brand new Mitsubishi Eclipse not 1-not 2-but THREE times and they still keep letting them drive it, and repairing (until it is beyond repair and is totaled).

I just don’t understand people sometimes. It like some common sense escapes them.

Voice of Reason

June 13th, 2012
8:48 am

Never-mind, I just read an article on Google about a 9 year old Miami girl who is suing the makers of Cracker Jack because they didn’t put a toy in her Cracker Jack box.

You win Miami, Atlanta surrenders…..

Voice of Reason

June 13th, 2012
8:49 am

Crap, read the article in the Miami News, but the girl actually lives in Indiana.



June 13th, 2012
8:55 am

Who’s the idiot who ALLOWED a nine year old to file a law suit???? Talk about entitlement!!!!


June 13th, 2012
9:03 am

Atlanta probably should be higher especially if you consider the extreme level of poverty of so many kids live in who bring the average down… that means the kids who are being spoiled, are likely REALLY being spoiled. I also wonder if these are the top cities with the most debt too. Just curious how many folks are maxing out their credit cards so little Johnny can wear the latest sneakers to school and Susie can show off her iPhone.

That being said, I think the definition of “spoiled” is relative. Our son is an only child of two working parents. While I feel like we have tried to give him boundaries and limit material goods, he absolutely has it better than my husband and I did growing up. And we intentionally planned for that. I think most parents want their kids to have a better life than they did. I grew up poor (as in qualified for food stamps and free lunch poor) and swore I would not raise a family in the same circumstances and so I’ve worked hard to provide that life. While I don’t feel like our son is as spoiled as his friends (i.,e. he didn’t get a car when he turned 16 and he works), I still think he’s spoiled. :)


June 13th, 2012
9:41 am

I agree with Techmom in that it is all relative. I was a child much like Techmom’s child. My dad came from nothing and became a self made success. I was the child with the brand new Mustang GT. It took me a very long time to appreciate material things. My husband’s family was probably more well off than mine but you never would have known it. He and his brother worked for everything they ever had and he is much more careful with his belongings than I am.
I have found that those who truly have a lot of money do not spoil their children nearly as much as those who don’t. The faux rich in West and East Cobb are often swimming in debt and still buy their kids fancy cars. The people on foodstamps are spending 1000.00 on prom. On the other hand, I know a few millionaires and their children drive 15 yr old Hondas.
I do think my kids are spoiled but not relative to our income. They are spoiled in that every Christmas they get one very nice item (maybe a DS or a fancy remote control airplane). Their clothes come from the GAP (but that is really me being spoiled b/c grandma helps with that). They get treats from Starbucks and Yogli Mogli way to often. Their favorite foods are crab legs and sushi. I think they are spoiled. They have chores and other things that are expected of them but life is basically a cake walk for them.
I remember reading about Tim Russert talking about how he came from very little and he had no idea how he could instill the same values in his child because you just can’t get away from the fact that the child didn’t have to suffer. My kids have no idea what it is like to truly want for something. Neither do I. I strive to make them understand that they have to live within their means, that saving is more important than fancy cars. That some people will always have more than them and some will always have less. That peace of mind is more important than having the next best gadget. I can just hope they are listening and learning from our example.
btw..I’m with Augusta. No cell phones until high school. And no iPhone until you can afford to pay for it yourself. You will get a cell phone when it becomes more convenient for ME that you have one.


June 13th, 2012
9:57 am

I’m along the same lines as Techmom. We have two children and are two working parents. Mine are 10 years apart so each have kind of been “only children” for part of their lives. I do not think they are spoiled to the point of being rotten, but they do enjoy things that I didn’t enjoy as a child. My oldest got a truck when he turned 16 but it was a 1995 Ford (he turned 16 in 2006) and he loved it like it was brand new. My youngest is 11 and has a cell phone, but it is a no frills, boring, simple phone that doesn’t have texting options. He uses it when he is at a friend’s house and lets me know if he is walking home or heading to the park with his friend. I know-gasp!-I let him and a friend go to the park alone. That’s why he has the phone. It does have GPS tracking on it though. However, we do live in an area where I see lots of kids with lots of things I think are a little overboard and those kids have an air of entitlement about them. I think we have to be careful with the balance between wanting our children to be happy and better off than we were and spoiling them rotten.

Once Again

June 13th, 2012
10:17 am

If they spent that money on private schooling or spent far less so that one parent could stay home and home school, the money would have been a wise investment. Otherwise, just more crap to feed the materialism that plagues our country.


June 13th, 2012
10:53 am

I am NOT going to reduce our household income by 1/2 in order to home school my kids. Sorry, but that is a sacrifice I am NOT willing to make. My kids are better off with BOTH of us working. They see both of us get up every morning and go to work. They have NEVER seen either one of us take a sick day. That’s a value I want to pass down.


June 13th, 2012
11:11 am

For what it’s worth, the methodology is flawed. People spend tons of money at Target, sporting goods stores, Macy’s, Wal-Mart (and, I suppose, Nordstrom and Tiffany’s), etc. That $ isn’t included in the study.

Voice of Reason

June 13th, 2012
11:11 am


Agreed, plus my wife and I don’t consider ourselves qualified to home-school our kids. Why waste the tax money.

It’s like when I was growing up I always wanted my mother to drive me to school because I hated taking the bus. Her response was always, “we pay taxes for those school buses, you’re going to ride it to school.”

It seemed highly unreasonable for her to take that stance at the time but now that I pay taxes myself, her statement makes perfect sense to me.


June 13th, 2012
11:20 am

@Voice, I don’t want to give up the perks that come with my job, like working from home. That alone has saved us so much money, and I’m not all stressed out when I get home from sitting in Atlanta traffic. Plus I get to be there in the mornings and in the afternoons with the kids. They’ve never had to go to day care. Hubby works close to home, so his commute is about 30 minutes. And he’s usually home by 4:30-5:00……


June 13th, 2012
12:02 pm

I think “spoiled” is relative and the impact on each child can be different. I never needed anything I didn’t get and I seldom got told no if I asked for something. I also got stuff I didn’t ask for, that my parents just gave me. (Mostly Daddy, of course.) For example, both my brother and I got cars for our 17th birthdays. I drove mine until it died (literally…it died at the dealership after I traded it in) but my brother wrecked his so many times that Daddy had to buy him another car…that he wrecked. (As a matter of fact, he’s never bought his own car.) I am very frugal and make a decent amount of money and my brother is not frugal with his little bit of money. I don’t have a sense of entitlement and he does. Yes, he was raised in a little more lax environment than I did when I left from college but damn, that wasn’t but 5 years. (Mostly) same situation, different children, different results.


June 13th, 2012
12:04 pm

I agree that spoiled is a relative term. I chose to spoil my kids (ages 4.5 and 7) with the gift of my time. I quit my well paying “dream job” to stay at home with them. So in my opinion they are spoiled in that we are able to spend so much time together instead of them being in daycare all summer. I look back on my childhood and spending the summers with friends riding bikes, swimming, climbing trees etc. I decided I wanted my kids to have a similar childhood.

We don’t buy the high end toys…they don’t have a ds and we don’t even have cable television, and yes they still survive (GASP lol)… but we build birdhouses and work in the garden backyard, we go on regular morning nature walks, they have friends on our street to ride bikes with and go to the pool with in the middle of a sunny afternoon, we go to weekly story times at the library, and I am available to take them to swim practice every day, make them lunch, and truly enjoy them as they grow up and more importantly watch them enjoying themselves. My favorite part of the each day is when the 3 of us spend 30-60 minutes all snuggled up in my bed and take turns reading stories or just making them up. THAT is my definition of spoiled. In my opinion, all 3 of us are spoiled.


June 13th, 2012
12:47 pm

By the way, we live is South Forsyth County/John’s Creek.


June 13th, 2012
1:30 pm

I was just talking to my boss about this yesterday. He is a multi-millionaire with 3 boys now grown. We were discussing the troubles I’m having with my 17 year old and about how they have so much more than we did growing up. He said if he had it to over again, he would be considered a mean parent. No cell phones, cable or cars until they got a job a paid for them. His opinion is that we as parents have given our generation of children way too many material things without them having to earn them and now they’re grown and have no incentive to work hard and strive for things in life. I thought hard about that conversation and realized just how true it is. Hindsight is 20/20. He and I can’t go back and undo the damage that we’ve done but you parents with little ones can. It will pay off when they’re grown if you do.

Tee Taylor

June 13th, 2012
2:01 pm

My kids are spoiled and so am I. My theory is you show me something good and I will show you something good. (LOL). The report card in school is excellent and I always tell my son’s. You will go a long way in life keep up the good work. My son’s are mannerable, respectful and a pleasure to be around. Although they are 10 years apart. I didnt change my parenting skills for the age difference.

usually lurking

June 13th, 2012
2:06 pm

Our children get what they need and some, but not all, of what they want. Do they have more than my husband and I did growing up? Yes, of course. We’ve worked hard to make that possible.


June 13th, 2012
2:48 pm

@jbm – I’ve often wondered the same thing but I think there’s more to it than just what you’re given. Do you think your son’s issues have more to do with his personality and drive or do you think his personality and drive (or lack thereof) are a result of the lifestyle in which he has grown up?


June 13th, 2012
3:10 pm

Odd how the most spoiled areas are also the areas of the highest cost of living . . . I think the study is a bit rickety.

What’s “spoiled”? More than you had a child? The only thing that spoils a child is taking away their drive to succeed and their confidence in their ability to be able to handle what life throws at them on their own. A child can have every luxury and be unspoiled, kind and thoughtful of others. Income doesn’t produce spoiled kids. PARENTS produce spoiled kids, by throwing things at them instead of time and life experiences.

Besides, I always heard that the definition of “spoiled” is when your neighbor’s kid has the latest thing and yours doesn’t — that makes the neighbor’s kid “spoiled.” :-)


June 13th, 2012
5:25 pm

The list is a crock. It’s based on spending at children’s stores, not on children’s items or expenses. This list may say more about how retail is set up in different cities (specialized vs big box/department stores) than it does about actual spending. I bet it’s tough to find a Walmart or Target in Manhattan. They may spend more at actual children’s stores because they have fewer multipurpose stores where they can buy children’s items.